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    Tech History

    • Today in Tech History: January 30

      Today in Tech History: Rich Skrentam writes one of the first PC virus codes on January 30, 1982. At the young age of 15, Rich Skrentam- a computer programmer and Silicon Valley entrepreneur- wrote one of the first PC virus codes on January 30, 1982. He creatively disguised his 400 line long virus by naming it ,"Elk Cloner" and used a process called boot sector to distribute what he called a prank to his friends and local computer club. The way it worked was by attaching itself to the Apple DOS 3.3 operating system and spread via floppy disks. The virus was loaded onto a game and the 50th time the game was opened, the virus was released and displayed the following poem: According to reports, the virus successfully infected the floppies of most people Skrentam knew. However, this was prior to when virus scanners and cleaners became readily available. Thankfully, floppy disks have become somewhat extinct, so the chances of this particular virus infecting one of today's computers are slim. Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted Thursday, January 30, 2014 by Kathleen Borg      Tweet

    • Today in Tech History: January 29

      Today in Tech History: Tetris makes its debut in the US as a PC game on January 29, 1988. Who doesn't love Tetris? Well, in case you don't love Tetris because you don't know what it is, Tetris is everyone's favorite tile matching video game. Basically you move geometric objects that are shaped like T's, J's, L's, S's, I's, Z's and O's around until you can fit them together in solid rows. The blocks drop from the top of the screen and as you fit them together correctly, they disappear. It may sound simple - and at the time critics didn't think young people would like it since it had no guns or explosions - but it's addictive. Tetris was designed in the Soviet Union by Alexey Pajitnov and was originally released in 1984. It wasn't until January 29, 1988 that it made its way to the US where it was distributed by an American company called Spectrum Holobyte. The game was released in an IBM PC version and became very popular. Then, after the 1988 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, it was picked up by a Dutch games publisher named Henk Rogers. At the time Rogers was based in Japan and, after playing Tetris more than just a few times, he made a deal that eventually led to an agreement with Nintendo that added Tetris to every Game Boy. After this Tetris took the world by storm and the rest is tech history... Feeling nostalgic? There are now other ways to incorporate Tetris into your life! One of the most coveted gifts at our Christmas party was none other than Tetris Jenga! You can also get yourself a stackable Tetris desk lamp, Tetris magnet set, and even Tetris stress blocks! Want even more Tetris in your life? Check out this list of 10 awesome Tetris inspired products. On a side note, today is National Puzzle Day and what a perfect day to celebrate! Now, go play some Tetris to celebrate! Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted January 29, 2014 by Robyn Norgan      Tweet

    • Today in Tech History: January 28

      Today in Tech History: The first ski tow in the United States begins operation in Vermont on January 28, 1934. Would you ski or snowboard without a ski tow or ski lift? Before ski tows, people would have to take long walks with their ski gear in the cold up a snowy hill, just to enjoy a few runs of skiing. Ski tows made it possible for people to enjoy multiple ski runs without having to physically climb back up the hill. Luckily, the first ski tow was invented in 1908 in Black Forest, Germany by Robert Winterhalder and on January 28, 1934 the first one opened up in the US! If you have never heard of a ski tow, it's almost like the common day ski lift, but instead of sitting down, you stand and grab onto a moving rope that takes you up a hill. The first ski tow to operate in the United States was at the White Cupboard Inn in Woodstock, Vermont. Check out this cool old footage of the first ski tow at the White Cupboard Inn. To power the ski tow, they used the rear wheel of a Ford Model A. Originally the tow was called the Ski-Way, but when Wallace "Bunny" Bertram took over the White Cupboard Inn, he renamed it to the Ski Tow. Eventually he moved the ski tow to what became the eastern fringe of Vermont's major southern ski areas. This regional resort still runs today and operates under the name Suicide Six. The ski tow was a simple idea, all it required was a car engine, some rope, and a few pulleys. This invention helped fuel the explosion of skiing, and eventually snowboarding, in the United States. Within five years, there were more than 100 tow ropes operating in North America. Today, ski lifts are more common, but ski tows are still around, mostly in the beginner "bunny" areas of ski grounds. Next time you're on a ski tow or ski lift, try to imagine how long it would take and how difficult it would be to walk up the snowy hills (I know I wouldn't want to!). Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted: January 28, 2014 by Justin Narayan      Tweet

    • Today in Tech History: January 27

      Today in Tech History: Apple introduces the first iPad on January 27, 2010. The iPad is now officially 3 years old! In a short 3 years, the iPad has been responsible for some of Apple's record breaking sales, and some long lines at retailers who sell the iPad. If you don't know what the iPad looks like, the image to the left is a picture of the iPad, courtesy of imore.com. Since its introduction, the iPad has dominated the tablet market. On April 3, 2010, its first day of release, the iPad sold an astonishing 300,000 units. By May 3, 2010 - just one month later - Apple had sold one million iPads. This was half the time it took Apple to sell a million iPhones (first generation). It only took 80 days after selling a million for Apple to announce they have sold 3 million iPads. On October 18, 2010, Steve Jobs announced that Apple had sold more iPads than Macs for the fiscal quarter. The iPad’s popularity and growth increased as time went on. In total, Apple sold more than 15 million first-generation iPads before the launch of the iPad 2. By the end of 2010, the iPad had sold more than all other tablet PC’s combined, and had reached 75% of the tablet PC sales at the end of 2010. The popularity of the iPad didn’t slow at all. After the success of the first iPad, Apple released the iPad 2, iPad (3rd Gen), iPad Mini (1st Gen), iPad (4th gen), iPad Air, and the iPad Mini (2nd Gen). Each one was a little faster, lighter, and better than the last model. Each release seemed to be as big as the one before and caused people to camp out in front of stores to be the first to get the new iPad. In October 2013, Apple hit an incredible milestone, selling its 100 millionth iPad! To sell 100-million units of any product is an amazing accomplishment. The iPad gives us the flexibility of a phone and the power of a computer, giving us best of both worlds. Though the iPad is a small device, it delivered a huge punch in the tablet market and technology industry. We’ll see what big plans Apple and the iPad have in store for us in the future. Happy 3rd Birthday, iPad! Want to take a look back on the Apple product that started it all? Check out our previous post on the Mac's 30th birthday. Also, since the Super Bowl is coming up, take a look back at Apple’s infamous Lemmings commercial during Super Bowl XIX in 1985. I wouldn’t recommend this because it looks a bit silly, but here’s someone using their iPad like a phone. Picture from:discussions.apple.com Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted: January 24, 2014 by Justin Narayan      Tweet

    • Today in Tech History: January 26

      Today in Tech History: Lotus Software begins selling its 1-2-3 spreadsheet program on January 26, 1983. Who doesn't love a good spreadsheet? I know I think of Excel when someone says the word 'spreadsheet,' but back in 1983, Excel didn't exist and the 1-2-3 was taking the spreadsheet-loving world by storm. It was considered the IBM PC's first "killer application," which meant that users were willing to spend more on hardware just because it could run 1-2-3. After its release, 1-2-3 immediately overtook Apple's VisiCalc in sales. This was especially impressive because the Visicalc is generally considered the first "killer application" ever. The 1-2-3 was hugely popular into the mid-1980s, which contributed significantly to the IBM PC's success during that time. Unfortunately, 1-2-3 suffered some technical setbacks around the same time Microsoft released Multiplan, which would eventually become Excel. As Windows grew in popularity during the early 90s, Excel gradually replaced 1-2-3 as the spreadsheet of choice. Today, Lotus Software, the maker of 1-2-3, no longer exists. It was purchased by IBM in 1995 and in 2011, IBM announced that replacement programs for Lotus Software would be no more. RIP 1-2-3. Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted January 26, 2014 by Robyn Norgan      Tweet

    • Today in Tech History: January 25

      Today in Tech History: US President John F. Kennedy delivers the first live presidential news conference on January 25, 1961. View a clip from President Kennedy's first news conference Following the now famous first televised presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon, Kennedy was very aware that his appearance would matter as much as what he said. During this address, Kennedy exhibited a calm demeanor as he read his prepared statement and answered questions from the press. Kennedy really became the first to define the president's image in the age of mass media. He became know for his charm, intelligence, and openness. Before the debate with Nixon, not only was Nixon considered ahead in the race, but many people believe that Nixon would've stayed ahead and ultimately won the presidency. During the debate Nixon was still recovering from an infection that had landed him in the hospital. In addition to his pale and underfed look, he also happened to be wearing Lazy Shave, a makeup he used to cover his five o'clock shadow, which unfortunately gave the appearance of melting off his face as he perspired under the studio lights. Kennedy, on the other hand, had been well rested before the debate and appeared calm and confident during it. Although they were considered evenly matched going into the debate, TV audiences overwhelmingly considered Kennedy the winner, while radio audiences considered either Nixon the winner or it to be a draw. Of course we now know that Nixon did eventually become president of the US, but he also refused to debate on TV in both 1968 and 1972. Today, it seems that no presidential candidate has that luxury and as we all know, appearance is very important. Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted January 25, 2014 by Robyn Norgan      Tweet

    • Today in Tech History: January 24

      Today in Tech History: The Mac turns 30! On January 24, 1984, Apple released its first Mac, the Macintosh 128k. Happy 30th Birthday to Apple's Mac! 30 years ago, on January 24, 1984, Apple released the Macintosh 128k. This computer is considered to be the one that "started it all". It was the first to have a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) and a "desktop" that made it a easier to use a computer without having to be a computer expert. This was the first time folders actually looked like folders and the trash was there to throw unwanted things away. It was easy to use, perhaps too easy, since a lot of people didn't know how to use it at first. This Mac was also came with a mouse! That's no big deal today since most devices are controlled with touch pads, but without the mouse, touch pads may have never came into existence. Without the mouse, we would probably still be using codes and commands to control the computer. This Mac gave users a new approach to using the computer. Steve Jobs got many ideas about the Mac when seeing the Xeorox Alto, which was a computer special built for the company Xerox. Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that his first glimpse of the Xerox Alto "was like a veil being lifted from my eyes." Jobs said, "I could see what the future of computing was destined to be". Image above is of Steve Jobs with a few original Mac 128ks, from: Macworld Premium Issue 1984 The Macintosh 128k came with all the bells and whistles: a nine-inch screen with a black-and-white display, a mouse, two serial ports, a slot for one 3.5-inch floppy disc, and a $2,500 price tag (equivalent to about $5,000 in today's dollars). It also came with an blazing 128kb of RAM. To give you some perspective, Apple’s iPhone 5s is now available in 64gb, which is 6,710,8864kb! The Macintosh 128k came equipped with hardware that had previously cost $10,000. Apple spent about $900,000 to advertise the Mac 128k in a now famous commercial during the 1984 Superbowl (check out the video below). In less than three months from its release, Apple had sold about 70,000 Macintosh 128ks. The following year, Apple advertised in the Superbowl again, but instead received negative feedback and the ad almost killed Apple. Find out why by reading our previous post on the Apple's infamous lemmings commercial. Luckily, Apple survived and has come a long way over the last 30 years. Apple now easily sells millions of Apple products a year and has become one of the strongest brands in the world, but it may not have been possible without the Mac that started it all, the Macintosh 128k. Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted: January 24, 2014 by Justin Narayan      Tweet

    • Today in Tech History: January 23

      Today in Tech History: The bathyscaphe Trieste breaks a depth record by descending 35,797 ft in the Pacific Ocean on January 23, 1960. On January 23, 1960, Jacques Piccard and Navy Lieutenant Donald Walsh descended in the Trieste to the deepest known point on Earth, Challenger Deep in the Marina Trench. The Marina Trench in located in the Pacific Ocean close to the island of Guam. The southern end of the Marina Trench is called the Challenger Deep, which is known to be the deepest point on Earth. The Trieste is a Swiss designed, Italian-built deep-diving research bathyscaphe. A bathyscaphe is a self propelled deep-sea vehicle, almost like a small submarine that is faster and can dive deeper. The Trieste was the first vessel, manned or unmanned, to have reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep. It was a 35,797 foot dive (almost 7-miles) and was a 4 hour and 48 minute journey to the bottom. The Trieste descended at a rate of 3 feet a second (0.9 meters/second). The Trieste had about 200,000 tons of water pressing on the cabin from all sides when at the bottom of the Marina Trench. The Trieste expedition remained the only manned dive to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench until March 2012 when the Deepsea Challenger expedition was attempted and accomplished by James Cameron, who directed movies such as The Terminator, Titanic, and Avatar. Picture is of the bathyscaphe Trieste, courtesy of Wikipedia. Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted: January 23, 2014 by Justin Narayan      Tweet

    • Today in Tech History: January 22

      Today in Tech History: Apollo 5 lifts off carrying the first lunar module into space on January 22,1968. Apollo 5 was the first test flight of the lunar module. This unmanned mission was to test the lunar module's ascent and descent engines, capability to abort lunar landing and return to orbit, and to evaluate its performance in space. The descent engine on the lunar module would become the first throttle-able rocket engine fired in space.The mission also performed a "fire in the hole" test, in which the ascending engine burned simultaneously as the descending engine stopped firing. This was done to simulate a landing during descent to the lunar surface. Apollo 5 accomplished all its objectives and was a successful mission. Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted: January 22, 2014 by Justin Narayan      Tweet Picture is of the lunar module from Apollo 16, courtesy of Wikipedia.

    • Today in Tech History: January 21

      Today in Tech History: The domain Twitter.com is registered on January 21, 2000. Although the domain Twitter.com was first registered back in 2000, it wasn't until 2006 that the Twitter we know today was born. Twitter was founded by Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, and Biz Stone. The idea for an SMS like service came out of a brainstorming session; it was code named twttr and used the typical five-character length of American SMS short codes. According to Dorsey, they chose to call the service Twitter because "the definition [of the word twitter] was a short burst of inconsequential information and chirps from birds and that's exactly what the product was." Twitter was introduced to the public on July 15, 2006. Its popularity really started to skyrocket after the 2007 South by Southwest conference where they saw Twitter usage increase from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. Then on January 15, 2009, Flight 1549, piloted by Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, went down in the Hudson River. Janis Krums, who was nearby on a ferry when the plane went down, tweeted, "There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy," along with a now-famous photo of the plane in the water. Thirty minutes later Krums was interviewed on live TV. According to Dorsey, "Suddenly the world turned its attention because we were the source of news - and it wasn't us, it was this person in the boat using the service, which is even more amazing." Today, Twitter sees 500 million tweets per day from 230 million active monthly users according to its website and it looks like it won't be slowing down any time soon. After it's recent IPO, the company saw its shares jump 73% in its market debut on November 7, 2013, valuing the company at a little over $31 billion. Are you on Twitter? Follow @Dynadot Want more Tech History? Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where we'll be posting daily with the hashtag #TechHistory Posted January 21, 2014 by Robyn Norgan      Tweet



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